Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Loving

A lot to love over the past two weeks, with my elder daughter, son in law and two grandchildren joining us for their Summer break. We had such a wonderful time, and miss them so much.  A much longer post than normal today, then, as I relive some of those precious memories.



Long lazy breakfasts


Reconnecting with the sacred stones.


Superheroes - superdogs too.

Beach days, which turn into beach evenings.


Gorgeous girls

Candy floss


Boys - and tractors


Crafting and cooking sessions in the kitchen.  Erin joining in already.


Visiting a Blackhouse.  


Finding a fabulous new deli-takeaway nearby - with the best beet salad in the world (probably)


Lovely gifts from Blog friends. 

( Two in the post - thank you to, lovely Claire for the Friendship heart -such a lovely surprise; and my headscarf giveaway prize, courtesy of the wonderful Joxy.  I was priveleged to meet Christine, her family, and their friends for a quick coffee at the Calanais centre and touched by her beautiful gift of a handknitted Angel dischcloth.  It was so nice to meet them, and Christine is every bit as lovely as she sounds on her blog.)


Loving, two boys in the back of our truck, listening to Finlay singing and endless repeats of this cd. Loving too, how James looks just slightly fed up with it all.  Ten days of non-stop action and play takes its toll even on Superheroes.


So, we loved some quiet pyjama mornings too.


Garden open day around the local villages - total inspiration.



And off we go, on our own again - spinning into the next week.  

Summer is such a busy time, and so much is going on that I want to hold on to - especially now as we head into August. Each Sunday I am posting a series of snapshots of things I have loved in the past week.  Those ordinary but special moments that might have gone unnoticed or forgotten  Trying to distill the love and joy from this hectic Summer season to remember with gratitude and warmth when the days are short again.



Giveaway prizes are now ready to be posted off tomorrow. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

This moment...


A single image, no words, capturing a precious moment from my week.  A simple moment that I want to pause, savour and remember. 

I am so happy to be joining in with Soulemama  again this week. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Salad Bar Grazing



Baby and Delia have been with us for one month.  We are getting to know each other quite well - and Baby is a very friendly and extremely playful cow ( a bit disconcerting when she starts leaping around like a frisky lamb!) .  They expect a treat or titbit whenever we visit, and come running towards us at the sight of the pink trug - usually containing some hay and barley, or chopped apple or carrot.  They are a lovely pair and have attracted several complimentary comments from neighbouring crofters.

Since they have been with us, they have eaten almost 3/4s of an acre of good grass.  we have been very taken with Joel Salatin's approach to raising cattle, and grassland management -  allowing the cattle to behave naturally - as they would in the wild.  So in essence that means imitating the wild herds which would roam over the land grazing an area, fertilising it, and then moving on - allowing the grass to recover before they return the following year. This is achieved by using electric fencing, and moving the cattle every day to a new strip of grass, or salad bar, as he calls it.




We have been trying out this system on our smallholding.  We have just over 3 acres at present, but have access to the common hill grazings around the township too.  Our plan is to let Delia and Baby graze off this one acre field, and then put them on the common grazings until October.  We are currently cutting our back two acre field for hay, and we will let that grow up again to allow them to graze as long as possible once they come back down.



The girls love having their new salad bar every day, and tuck right in. It seems to be a simple and effective system, so far,  but we will see how it goes.  Ideally we should let the hens on to the ground, following the cows - and that may happen next year if we increase our flock.


 We have decided not to milk these ladies.  Delia is ten years old, and has never been milked before, and Baby is a Dexter/Belted Galloway cross, so not a  milk cow.  What we will do is to breed from both, using a Dexter male, and hopefully one of their daughters - probably Delia's, will be our milker.  How to achieve this state of affairs has caused many roundabout discussions, furrowed brows and questioning of neighbouring cattlemen.  There are no Dexter bulls on the Western Isles - so a long trip in a trailer, and a 3 hour ferry ride is not our favoured option.  AI, though not ideal, seems, at the moment,  to be the most practical solution to get us started on the Delia dynasty.  We shall see...


But for now, we keep moving that fence, strip by strip, learning everyday.


And hopefully we'll have a few skills to pass on one day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A pause.


In the midst of our Summer joy, comes a time of inexplicable horror.  We are all pebbles in the same water - tossing and rolling around in the current - touching each other as we move back and forwards in the stream.  Let us be still a moment and send love and healing - flowing now towards the wounded and mourning land of the Norse.
Blessings. xx

Friday, July 22, 2011

This moment...


A single image, no words, capturing a precious moment from my week.  A simple moment that I want to pause, savour and remember. 

I am so happy to be joining in with Soulemama  again this week. Wishing you all a joyful weekend

Giveaway

video

I had a fantastic response to the Giveaway - thank you to everyone who took part.  It was such fun to do, so i will do another one in November for my 3rd blog anniversary.  We printed off all the comments and mixed them up in a bowl - we had to find a bigger bowl in the end, once we added the eligible second entries (which was almost everyone - thank you all.)   Finlay made the draw, as you see, and James drew the runner up.  We decided that we had to have a runner up, as there was such a big response - and also James wanted to be videoed too - both boys  still in pyjamas - Finlay's inside out and back to front - lol. Sorry you have to tun on your side to view it - i think I held the phone the wrong way round ( we were very excited).
 Anyway, a small token will be on its way to Chris from Bees Make Honey, and the winner of the Lucky Bag is Mel  - Life as it happens.  Congratulations - can you please email me your contact details (see sidebar) and I will parcel up these goodies and get them off to you next week
Thank you all once again for your beautiful comments - it is so humbling to think you are all interested in our little part of the world.  I hope you still enjoy walking along with us.

Still distracted by baby toes, little boys running around; shouts of "Gran!"; realising that is me!; loving that; long breakfasts; another pot of tea, and beaches - yes....
I will be back to visit everyone soon. xxx

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Please accept my apologies...


for my absence from the blogging world for a few days.


I have a wee bit of catching up to do.

We will be back on Friday with the results of the giveaway - still time to leave a comment here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Loving

This week I have loved:


Going out for breakfast.


Men who mow.






Sheepdog trials.





and beaches.






strings



 scrapyards,


finding footprints from long ago on our garden path


and getting creative in the kitchen.



Phew - let's get ready now to glide smoothly into another week.

Summer is such a busy time, and so much is going on that I want to hold on to. Each Sunday I am posting a series of snapshots of things I have loved in the past week.  Those ordinary but special moments that might have gone unnoticed or forgotten  Trying to distill the love and joy from this hectic Summer season to remember with gratitude and warmth when the days are short again.




Don't forget to check out my lucky bag giveaway  - comments can be left until Thursday.

* These are modern sheilings, still used mainly at peat cutting time, rather than the traditional summer sheilings described in the link page.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This moment...



A single image, no words, capturing a precious moment from my week.  A simple moment that I want to pause, savour and remember. 

I am so happy to be joining in with Soulemama  again this week. Wishing you all a calm weekend.


(ps - Remember to check out my lucky bag giveaway.)

One Summer Day


The warmth and stillness of the early morning brought the promise of a fine day, but also the threat of the midge.  For that reason, we decided it was not the day to finish the peats - instead, with nothing else too pressing, we would have a day out.  John had a Gaelic group session  in the morning, at the community hall - a very important source of local information, so not to be missed. James and I packed up a picnic.


Spanish tortilla - the perfect picnic food, potato crisps, cake, juice and a flask of tea.  By this time, we had decided to go to the beach at Bosta, about a 20 minute drive away.


 I posted a picture of my ready-to-go beach bag a couple of weeks ago...but is is amazing how much extra stuff I seem to need right at the last minute.  Some frantic rushing around, finding other bags and flinging things in "just in case" (2 books, knitting, extra clothes, embroidery - embroidery? well- you just never know) and we were nearly ready for the off. I suppose I could have swept the floor....ho hum...  my floors are spotless in the Winter - honestly!


Just as we were heading out of the drive, a friend of John's came screeching up in his car.  An old building was being demolished in the village right that very moment and they could help themselves to the wood.  Not too sure of the substance in this story, but very keen on the idea of free wood, we dutifully trundled down after him.  We watched the demolition for a while, and ascertained that while part of it had been spoken for, we could have some - the operators said that they would put all stuff to be reclaimed aside. Thankful that we didn't have to deal with a ton of lumber right then, we headed back to the truck.  Another couple from the village had arrived by this time,to photograph the demolition.  While chatting to them, we discovered that tickets were available for a concert in the hall that night, as part of the HebCelt fesitval, so after duly purchasing these, from the centre, we finally set off for the beach.


and relax.......................



Picnic time and settling down to read, dig - maybe sew?  And then along came someone we knew!  She was there with her sister, father and 4 year old nephew.  James and M hit it off right away and before we knew they were digging down to Australia - hoping to see kangaroos - and then running about wildly and diving on the sand. We had a lovely peaceful chat with no need of other diversions.


But the call of the sea became insistent.  James and M headed down to the shore with our friend.  I followed, camera in hand, but once I got my feet in that water, I knew what I had to do.


It has been a long long time since I swam in the Atlantic waters of North West Scotland, but it felt amazing.  A wee bit cold to start with, but so pure and crystal clear.  It soon warmed up and we stayed in for ages.  No photos of J here, as he wasn't exactly decent - small boy on the beach and all, but it was such fun.  I had forgotten how good it feels to swim in the sea.
We stayed so long, we were almost late for our concert.  We made it - just - and sat there, glowing, at the back of the hall, with our hair still hanging in damp salty clumps and our feet covered in sand.


.  

We heard some great Scottish traditional music from the Rua McMiIllan trio.


and then some fabulous Bluegrass from the Coal Porters


A lovely, endless, timeless, perfect Summer day.


(ps - Remember to check out my lucky bag giveaway.)

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